Champions League Action Here We Come

1 Apr
8

Show us what ya got!

Final training session before CL quarter finals tomorrow? Check. Another player to add to our growing list of injured boys? Check. Seriously, can we STOP with the injuries please?? It’s like everytime someone is close to rejoining the team, we find ourselves with another player on the way out. Ugh.

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Castilla players Quini, Lucas, Casado, Pacheco, & Jaime joined 20 of our boys on the pitch for physical and ball drills. The good news was Xabi was back in training and the bad news was Marcelo was not. We’re still waiting on more information, but the club released a statement saying he’s suffering a grade one tear in his left hamstring. There’s no word yet on how long he’ll be out.

PLAYER LIST FOR DORTMUND:
Goal Keepers: Casillas, Diego López, and Jesús.
Defenders: Varane, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrão, Carvajal, and Nacho.
Midfielders: Bale, Xabi Alonso, Casemiro, Modric, Di María, Isco, and Illarra.
Forwards: Morata, Benzema, and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Today the Mister sat down for his pre-match presser and was joined by Modric, as well.

From realmadrid.com

Ancelotti:

Carlo Ancelotti spoke to the press one day ahead of the first leg tie in the quarterfinals of the Champions League. The Italian analysed the encounter against Borussia Dortmund: “The team is doing very well and we’ll need to play with a lot of intensity and pace. We are also missing important players so things will be pretty even in terms of injuries. They’ll be without Lewandowski, but their playing style is always the same: compact and with dangerous transitions. They are dangerous on the break and that will be important factor in this game. We will try to play an attacking game because we need a positive result, but will be cautious with respect to them counter attacking”.

“The atmosphere around the team is good. We are looking forward to this match and will be 100% up for it. We are motivated and everyone knows how important this competition is for us. When I talk about excitement I don’t just mean the players and the club, but also the excitement felt by all of Real Madrid’s fans. Tomorrow the atmosphere will be very good and that will help us”.

Last year’s encounter
“I watched the games and they were very strange because in the first leg Real Madrid controlled things well in the first half, but then what happened in the second half was just incredible. After that a comeback was always going to be difficult because it isn’t easy to score three goals against a team like Borussia. That’s the Champions League for you”.

Marcelo’s injury
“We’ve had a slight problem with Marcelo, but Coentrão is fresh and has experience at this level. We can replace him without any complications. It won’t change anything because both players can do the same job”.

Bale as a replacement for Marcelo
“That is not an option. He’ll play further up the pitch. We don’t have a lot of options, but saying that Nacho, Ramos and Varane can all play at full back as well. He’s been a bit in and out, but that’s one of the characteristics of a forward and a player of his ability and pace. Bale isn’t like Xabi Alonso, whose game is based on resistance. His rotation has nothing to do with his aptitude as a player but rather his fitness”.

“Cristiano is well. He has a slight knock, but he is motivated and calm. The whistling on Saturday has been forgotten now. He didn’t pass the ball to one of his team mates in time to score. That’s all it was”.

A possible change of system
“The system is always the same, although from time to time it can change to accommodate the ideas of the players on the pitch. The system is the same, but we have players who can change things up in any given moment”.

Klopp and his characteristics as a coach
“I admire him a lot. He is doing a fantastic job. Last year he reached the final of the Champions League. I congratulate him because he is a coach who prepares his side excellently”.

The danger posed by Aubameyang
“I know him well because he was part of the Milan youth academy when I was there. He’s enjoying a fantastic football career. He was very good last year. He is dangerous, fast and attacks well from deep. In the absence of Lewandowski, he can do a good job of replacing him”.

The quarterfinals of the Champions League
“There will be some fantastic matches because it is between the 8 best teams in Europe. It will be difficult for all the clubs to get through to the semifinals”.

Are Real Madrid and Atlético the favourites?
“What happened in the Group Stage won’t be as important as what’s to come. What I’ve said is that we started out really well. We are excited about playing well in the quarterfinals and that’s all. Atlético can compete with any team”.

The Copa del Rey final
“For now tomorrow’s match is the important one. There is plenty of time to go before the Copa del Rey final”.

Modric:

Luka Modric was the star in the Real Madrid City press room today. After his manager spoke to the press, the Croatian spoke about the team’s motivation ahead of the first leg Champions League quarter-final tie: “We’ll do our best to beat Borussia. It will be a tough match and it is crucial for the return leg that we don’t concede. After the four games we played against them last season we know how dangerous they are on the break”.

“Up until the two defeats, we had been enjoying a fantastic season. We are the same players and the same team. We are really motivated and have put last season behind us. We have to focus on tomorrow’s match. We can’t lose our heads just because we lost the last matches against them”.

The importance of playing the first leg at home
“It’s all the same to me. I don’t think it’s an advantage to play the first leg at home. Last year we lost the first leg. We didn’t expect there to be such a big difference and we were really close to going through in the second leg. We have to be focused during the game and do everything we can both in attack and in defence. I hope to be in the semifinals”.

Eager for revenge
“It is just another game against a very good side. We still remember the two games from last season, but tomorrow will be different. They have a lot of injuries and we could mistakenly think that it will be an easy encounter, but it will be a very tough game for us. We have more experience now and know what we could be up against. I hope that will help us during these two matches and allow us to qualify for the semifinals”.

The threat posed by Borussia
“We know how they play and that they are dangerous on the break. We have to careful when we lose the ball, tracking back quickly and putting pressure on them immediately to regain possession. They have a few pacey forwards. We have to stop their best players from playing and I’m sure we can do that tomorrow”.

“Obviously Cristiano is disappointed with these two defeats, like everyone on the team. We weren’t expecting that to happen, but that’s football for you. If it wasn’t like that, it wouldn’t be interesting. We have to congratulate Barcelona and Sevilla. The fans have shown their respect for Cristiano, so nothing has changed. I’m sure that tomorrow they will once again show him their appreciation. Cristiano Ronaldo respects the fans, it’s like a marriage. There are good days and bad days, but the important thing is that they love each other”.

Bale’s contribution
“He’s doing really well. He’s helping the team out a lot. He has scored loads of goals and provided a lot of assists. Perhaps he isn’t as good as he was at Tottenham, but he is important for us. I don’t think he has been selfish. He is trying to play for the team and has probably provided the most assists out of anybody in La Liga. He wants to score and pass the ball, so I don’t think that should be a problem”.

His role in the team
“We play with three in the centre of the pitch and Ancelotti wants us to play as a team, change the play when we get on the ball and create space. It is a similar job to the one I have with the national team. You have to defend and attack. That is the role of a central midfielder. If you want to play for Real Madrid, you have to defend and attack. It is impossible to just get away with one facet of play in modern football. I like my position in this team”.

Possible team fatigue
“We are not tired. It was a tough moment that came out of the blue for everyone. We lost two games, but we have to bounce back from that quickly. We have to be united, remain confident and continue playing as we have been throughout the season. These two defeats shouldn’t erase all the good work that came before them. We are alive in all three competitions and are not going to give up on any of them”.

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Like Carvajal did yesterday, Benz chatted with UEFA to talk about this season and tomorrow’s opponents.

Karim Benzema gave an interview to UEFA in which he spoke about how things are currently going at the club as well as Real Madrid’s exciting Champions League quarterfinal draw with Borussia Dortmund. “We have won nearly all our games in the tournament and the team feels good. We will give it our all to get through this round”, the Whites’ striker revealed.

 How would you rate this season’s Champions League so far?

 Everything has gone well up until now. We’ve qualified for the quarterfinals and are enjoying a good moment. We’ve won nearly all our games and I think the team feels good.

Do you think that the difficulty posed by Borussia Dortmund has changed this year?

I think they still have the same players, but they’ve had a lot of injuries this season. We have put what happened last season to the back of our minds and now we have a new team with a new mentality. We are not thinking about them, although they are a strong team. We will give it our all to get through this round.

What objectives has Carlo Ancelotti laid out for this season?

 The goal is to win all three titles and I think we can do it. We have a good team, a strong enough squad to do it. He has brought stability to the team and that is important.

What is your opinion on the possibility of winning a tenth European Cup this year?

We have reached the semifinals for the last three years. We’ve played in three consecutive semifinals. We are doing well this year. We still have to play a number of games to reach the final, but we are getting closer.

You make up part of an attacking trio with Bale and Ronaldo. How would you evaluate your partnership with them?

They are great players and we have a very good understanding of each other, both on and off the pitch. It is easy to play with players like them, who are skillful, fast and technical.

Does Real Madrid have the most dangerous attack left in the tournament?

I don’t know. But we are a team, it is not all about us three forwards. We have the support of the whole squad. We play an attacking style of football and, like I said, we have great players in attack and its great for us to score loads of goals, which ultimately helps the team win games.

What is the key to the great moment you are currently enjoying?

 The style of play, getting minutes in games and having confidence. That is what counts for a striker. That is all thanks to hard work and also a bit of good fortune.  

You have scored 35 goals in 59 Champions League games. What do you like most about playing in this competition?

I don’t know. I’ve had a lot of success in it. Ever since I was a boy I’ve liked the Champions League and I hope that continues. Playing games like this one helps me, above all else, with my confidence and gives me more experience in the competition, which I started playing in at 17 years of age. Now I’m 26-years-old, so I’ve almost played ten years in the competition. Every time I play in the Champions League is special. I love this competition.

What do you remember about your debut against Rosenborg and the goal you scored?

That was my first match, in Lyon, and was a long time ago. If I’m not mistaken, Gérard Houllier was the manager. I remember that it was my first match in the competition and that I scored. John Carew crossed the ball from a wide position and I scored at the near post. That was my first Champions League goal. I was over the moon, I was only 17-years-old.

What goal would you have liked to score and what would be your ideal final this season?

A winning goal in the Champions League final. A final between Real Madrid and PSG, as it is a French side.

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The boys and their music…. Yesterday, Carvajal, Isco, and Morata joined Estopa for a live Spotify session. More budding artists in our midst?

Iker gave us a little peek at his new boots today, he’ll be sporting these babies tomorrow. Shout out to bebe Martin! Let’s hope these give Papa Iker some super saving power!

BkIO_UFCIAA2wI5.jpg large

To concentracion they go! The day is done for these guys, it’s all focusing and relaxing here on out. Visualize the win, boys!

Pics via gfsports & albertosmoreno.

-Maisougio

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